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Computer Science (PSM)

[Program Overview][Program Outcomes][Curriculum][Program Requirements][Admission Criteria][Application Requirements][Diagnostic Exams][Transfer Credits][Academic Standing][Reactivating into the Program][Accreditation][Faculty][Contact Information]

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Computer Science (PSM) is a 38-credit program that combines advanced coursework in computer science with courses in professional skill areas such as team and project management, as well as verbal and written communications. Students are also required to complete an industry internship that culminates in a technical project to be evaluated by a faculty member and the industry partner offering the internship.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of this program will have acquired:

  • A solid foundation in the concepts of distributed systems, computer security, and data management/software engineering;
  • The ability to read peer-reviewed literature related to research problems in Computer Science, and to obtain the necessary background information to further explore the problems;
  • Experience in solving problems in a professional setting;
  • Professional skills such as critical thinking/decision making, team/project management, and written and oral communications.

Curriculum (38 Credits)

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in Computer Science or a related field. Applicants are expected, at a minimum, to have intermediate programming skills with a good knowledge of data structures and concomitant mathematical background. Applicants who do not have such a background will need to take remedial courses before being admitted to the program.

Applicants lacking background in operating systems would be required, as a condition of admission, to take ICS 462 Operating Systems as part of their program. These four credits of coursework may count toward the 38 credits required to graduate.

Program Requirements

Distributed Systems (4 credits) one course from the following:

Computer Security (4 credits) one course from the following:

Software Engineering/Data Management (4 credits) one course from the following:

Elective Coursework (12 credits) covering advanced subject matter in computer science. Electives may include additional work in distributed systems, computer security, software engineering /data management or may be taken from other advanced topics such as the three courses listed below.

Graduate Coursework (6 credits) covering topics such as team and project management, decision making, and related topics. Suggested courses are:

Writing Coursework (4 credits); call students will be evaluated before placement into WRIT 571G. A student lacking the necessary writing skills will be required to complete additional writing classes, those credits will not be applied toward the program.

Internship (4 credits)

  • Requires approval by a committee/advisor;
  • Should involve at least 300 hours of work of which at least 250 hours must be spent on highly technical activities involving design or implementation or both;
  • The level and quality of the work must be appropriate for a professional with a master's degree in computer science
  • Must culminate in a technical project to be evaluated by a faculty member and the industry partner offering the internship.

Note: Even if the student is already employed in the industry and has experience in working on such projects, the student would still be required to register for the internship and meet all the requirements.

Admission Criteria

The ICS department bases admission decisions on the applicant's prior academic work (especially in Computer Science), professional or other non-academic background in Computer Science, and recommendation letters. The following three items are the minimum criteria for the ICS department to consider an applicant for potential admission. Meeting these requirements is not a guarantee of admission.

  1. Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or a related discipline from a regionally accredited institution with either a cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), or an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 in all Computer Science and Mathematics or related courses. Applicants without a formal degree in computer science should have completed coursework in the following topics:
    • Discrete mathematics
    • Problem solving using a modern programming language such as C, C++, or Java
    • Data structures (stacks, queues, trees, graphs, etc.), algorithms, and complexity
    • Object-oriented programming and design

    Note: In rare circumstances, an applicant not meeting the GPA requirements might be considered if their other application materials are stellar (e.g., outstanding recommendations, excellent GRE scores, etc.)

  2. Two positive recommendations from people qualified to judge the applicant's ability for graduate studies
  3. English language proficiency or permanent resident status, documented/demonstrated in one of the following ways:
    • Is a US citizen or permanent resident
    • Has a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from an English-speaking institution in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand
    • Holds an H-1 visa at the time of application that will be in effect at the date of matriculation
    • Has a minimum TOEFL score of 80 (Internet-based), or 550 (paper-based) achieved within 24 months of intended matriculation.
    • Has an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher achieved within 24 months of intended matriculation.

Application Requirements

This is a summary listing only. See Applying to the Program for full details on the application deadline, requirements and requirements specific to international applicants.

  • Graduate Application; required
  • $20 non-refundable application fee; required (waived only for graduates of Metropolitan State University)
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended; required
  • Two letters of recommendation; required
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores; recommended
  • Resume plus documentation of relevant work experience; recommended
  • Purpose essay describing why the applicant wishes to enroll in the program; recommended

Applicant files will be reviewed based on the admission criteria in effect as of the date that all of their application materials are received in the Graduate Studies Office. Applicants should allow one month for review once all application materials have been received.

Applicants are invited to contact the department and schedule time to discuss their academic plans (via email, phone, or in person) with the director of the program or other graduate faculty. To initiate a discussion please send an email request to mscs@metrostate.edu

Diagnostic Exams

All incoming students must take a diagnostic assessment of their writing skills. Those who do not satisfactorily complete this assessment must do remedial coursework after consultation with their advisor.

Transfer Credits

A maximum of eight (8) graduate credits from other universities or departments may be used for graduate credit with advisor approval. Courses used for the award of another degree at Metropolitan State or any other university may not be used again for graduate credit in the PSM in Computer Science program. Prior learning credits do not count toward program requirements. Independent studies are strongly discouraged. Regardless of other coursework, the student must complete at least 16 credits of ICS coursework at the 600-level at Metropolitan State University.

Academic Standing

To remain in good academic standing, the student must:

  • Earn a grade of B- or better in all courses;
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0;
  • Successfully complete at least one approved course within three semesters (including summer) of admission; and
  • Finish the program within 18 semesters (summers included) of first registration as a graduate student fully admitted to the program.

Students who earn a grade less than B- in more than two classes (in prerequisite undergraduate coursework taken here at the university or in graduate level coursework) will be dismissed from the program. Students whose GPA falls below 3.0 may be given multiple semesters to bring their GPA back to 3.0 or higher. Failure to remain in good academic standing will result in dismissal from the program. To continue in the program, a dismissed student must reapply for admission. A dismissed student must sit out at least 3 consecutive semesters (one calendar year) and reapply for admission to continue in the program. If readmitted, the student may be asked to repeat some or all of the courses taken previously.

Reactivating into the Program

A student in good academic standing who has not registered for courses for three or more consecutive semesters (including summers) must formally request to reactivate into the degree program. To reactivate, submit a letter to the director of the program expressing a desire to reactivate into the program. You will be required to satisfy degree requirements in force at the time of reactivation, even if those requirements differ from those in force at the time of original admission to the degree program.


Metropolitan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission:
Higher Learning Commission
30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400
Chicago, IL 60602-2504


Brahma Dathan, Sue Fitzgerald, Thanaa Ghanem, Larry Gottschalk, KuoDi Jian (graduate program director), Faisal Kaleem, Jigang Liu, Milt Luoma, and Michael Stein (department chair).

Contact Information

Office Location
700 East Seventh Street
New Main, Room L110
Saint Paul, MN 55106